Sageview sells majority stake to PE firm Aquiline

Aquiline Capital Partners last week bought a majority stake in Sageview Advisory Group, representing the latest major investment by a private equity firm in a large retirement adviser firm.

The deal, which closed Dec. 30, provides capital that will let Irvine, California-based Sageview ramp up acquisitions, invest in technology and build out retirement plan participant services, including financial wellness, said founder and managing principal Randy Long.

Aquiline “has a lot of experience in the financial services space, and they really saw us as a platform to be able to consolidate other companies,” Long said. “We’re excited to have the capital to expand and be able to continue to grow.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sageview Advisory Group, which had $119 billion in assets under advisement as of the end of September, is the second-largest independent retirement plan adviser firm, behind Captrust. Sageview has about 140 employees across 25 offices, according to the registered investment adviser.

Long and Sageview principal John Upham are retaining “a significant equity stake” and will continue to lead the firm, according to an announcement it made today.

Further, “a significant number of our associates of advisers and analysts will now have an equity interest in Sageview, and that was part of the objective overall. No one is going anywhere,” Long said.

Consolidation has been a theme of late in the retirement plan adviser world, and private equity has increasingly poured money into the space. That has helped push valuations to high points, leading to ample selling opportunities for adviser firms.

Last year, Chicago-based GTCR made a 25% investment stake in Captrust Financial Advisors, the first such private-equity deal for the RIA. That transaction valued Captrust at about $1.25 billion. Another recent purchase, though not by private equity, was OneDigital’s acquisition last year of Resources Investment Advisers.

“We really felt the industry was consolidating,” Long said. The deal with Aquiline “is not too different from what some of our competition has done.”

Long declined to comment on the dollar size of Aquiline’s investment.

Sageview currently has one planned acquisition in the near future — a company in the Pacific Northwest, Long said. “For a smaller adviser, it’s hard to remain independent,” he said. “Scale is important to get hired these days.”

Aquiline has numerous investments in financial services firms, including stakes in retirement plan record keeper Ascensus, investment and consulting firm AssetMark, investment manager Conning and compliance software firm RIA in a Box.

Sageview’s financial adviser for the deal was Jeffries, and Aquiline’s was Ardea Partners. Wise Rhino was also an adviser for Aquiline, according to the announcement.

The post Sageview sells majority stake to PE firm Aquiline appeared first on InvestmentNews.

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